Call for Recommendations (London & NYC)

Cam and I have lots of traveling coming up in the next month… first, it’s off to NYC for about four days where Cam will be running the New York Marathon (in obviously much less than four days!). We have dinner plans for two nights already… at Lupa and at Raoul’s, but we are looking for a couple more cool spots for dinner and even more importantly, little holes in the walls for lunch. My last little food tour of New York was a ton of fun but I want to keep looking for new spots (although I’m definitely going to that same epic falafel cart.)

Then, after a short respite at home, we’ll be heading to London to visit our friends who just moved there. They live right by Portobello Road, so the market there will be a must, and I’m sure they will have plenty of places lined up for us too… but we’ll be there over a week, so I’d love to get some other recommendations… bakeries, cheese shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, you name it.

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  • Luisa

    In NYC, the Dumpling place on Eldridge Street is a great hole-in-the-wall, and cheap to boot: 5 dumplings for a dollar. Delicious… Also, have you thought about Prune on 1st and 1st for dinner or brunch? It’s absolutely fantastic (though I prefer their dinner to their lunch). Another great place that I am totally obsessed with is Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie on 5th Ave and 86th Street. Delicious and so atmospheric.

    What a fun trip you have to look forward to! I’m looking forward to cheering people on at the Marathon as we do every year – what an amazing day.

  • Anita

    Hi L,

    If you’ll be in London over the weekend, don’t miss having a pork-and-stilton sandwich at the Borough Market. The Neal’s Yard cheese shop is right across the road from the covered market proper. And I think you’d enjoy dinner at St John, too.

    Let me go back through my London notes, as I am sure I have some great pubs to recommend, but my brain is too addled at the moment to recall them.

  • Pips

    If you’re on the Portobello Road, make sure you visit Books for Cooks. If you go Monday-Thursday, you could have lunch there too. They only have four tables and you can’t book. E&O is a really great oriental fusion restaurant nearby. The Ledbury Bar does fabulous cocktails round the corner.
    Pubs- I live in North London…might be a bit far but The Barnsbury and The Drapers’ Arms are my lunching spots. For nice atmospheric pubs, try as they have lots of ‘real ale’ places (which are usually the best).
    La Fromagerie is the last word in cheese – is on Highbury Barn or Moxon Street. I second Borough Market on the weekend, it is great.

  • Rachel

    You’ll definitely want to stop at Zen Palate, in Union Square (14th street)… incredible (mostly) vegetarian food, and trust me, meat will not be missed if you choose to eat vegetarian.

    For Cuban and Indian fare, check out Cafe Con Leche and Swagat, both on the Upper West Side (between 79th and 82nd streets- Amsterdam avenue)

    Then there is a Japanese/American fusion place called Dojo’s- great prices, and FANTASTIC soy burgers and big big noodle soups (Try the Tsunami, I believe it’s called)… there is one on St. Marks Place and another (the one I usually go to) is on West 4th street between Mercer and Broadway.

    Speaking of Japanese, if you want to have some fun at dinner, try “Swish Cafe and Shabu-Shabu” on West 3rd street between Thompson and Sullivan.

    All of these places can be found through if you want more info ^_^

    Good luck and have fun!… NY is the number one place for any cuisine you’d like :)

  • Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

    no recommendations but have fun! Sounds a nice series of trip! Bonne chance ?ɬ† lui ! AND, I hope Cam survives the marathon! 😉 I have a friend of ours running it too, from BOS.

  • http://n/a Kathleen

    Hi L.,
    Just noticed in the current issue of “O” the Oprah magazine that there is an article listing the top places to eat around the country — NYC is included — you might want to check the recommendations out. They include descriptions & pricing.

  • L

    oh what fun! I new I could count on folks to give me great suggestions!

    Luisa – I had read about Prune, and it does sound really good. It might have to go onto the list… but I’m super excited about the hole in the wall dumpling place. That sounds right up my alley!

    Anita – woah – stilton and pork sounds like quite a sandwich (for me anyway… I like the stinky cheeses!)

    Pips – I defintely will check out the book shop… sounds great!

    Rachel – I have a feeling I’m going to be wishing for more time! (but no worries, I’m sure I’ll go back :-)

    Bea – Thanks for your well wishes! Cam’s going to do great. He blew threw his last training run no problem… I just know he’ll be ready to eat lots when he’s done :-)

    Kathleen – Thanks, I’ll check it out!


  • Danielle


    Bamiyan on 26th and 3rd (Afghani food, and while you’re there, stop by the great nearby spice store Kalustyan’s on 28th and Lex).

    La Parada in Brooklyn on 4th Ave between 31st and 31st (great inexpensive latino food).

    Excellent Dumpling House on Lafayette between Canal and Walker (good lunch spot in Chinatown; I really love their sizzling beef chow fun with garlic sauce).

    Ping’s Seafood on Mott just south of Mosco (my current favorite dim sum place; has fantastic long shrimp noodles and what appear to be pork mochi).

    What parts of the city will you be in? If I knew that, I could give better recommendations.

    Also! Want to get together while you’re in town? ^^

  • Foodfreak

    If in London, stop at wagamama…

    and of course books for cooks.

  • Andrew

    Loads in London – St John, Vinoteca opposite, Borough Market, I ate at Wagamamas a couple of days ago for first time- very good. Leon chain is also good.

    Any spare time? I know of several London-based bloggers who would love to meet you.

  • Becca

    I am so glad you asked for London suggestions as I am off for a four day visit there in a few weeks and will certainly look up Books for Cooks and the Borough Market on a Saturday. Love your blog!

  • johanna

    in NYC, you must have brunch at Bubby’s in Tribeca, at 120 Hudson St. (Franklin St. Metro station) – and don’t miss their pancakes! If you want casual lunch/dinner with great wines by the glass and a short, but good menu, try In Vino, 215 E 4th St,
    Btwn Ave A & Ave B.
    If you want a proper burger and other US/NY specialities in a quaint neighbourhood atmosphere, go to JG Melon, 1291 Third Ave. at 74th St.

    As for London, THE place to be at the moment is the newly opened Atelier de Joel Robuchon, 13-15 West Street, London, WC2H 9HE. For more low-key, delicious French try La Tompette in Chiswick or Chez Bruce in Wandsworth.
    When in Notting Hill, try a brunch at the cafe/resto in the Electric Cinema or at Northcote, and don’t leave without pickin up some gorgeous pastries at Otto Lenghi.
    If you’re craving pizza, Strada have the best in town and their location on the South Bank is the best for night-time views.
    great gourmet thai (michelin starred) at nahm.
    Borough market is a must and a meal in itself (it only opens Fri/Sat, though!
    Have a drink at Sketch, book at one of the Ramsay restaurants and do go to a nice hotel for a high/afternoon tea – i can recommend browns hotel and the lanesborough… and are helpful guides.
    don’t hesitate to email me should you want something more specific!

  • Hamish

    As a Brit in NYC I feel compelled to comment:


    You’ll have a great time at Lupa… but also you must have a cookie sandwich (filled with cupcake frosting) at Babycakes on Broome between Orchard and Ludlow on the Lower East Side. It’s the most delicious sweet in the city?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùand vegan too ( Top it off (if you’re lucky) with a Thai chili chocolate gelato at Laboratorio del Gelato (

    Also, get a burrito at Calexico, lunchtimes at Wooster and Prince in Soho.

    Also, go to Public in Nolita and have the curried aubergine salad, and the sorbet tasting plate. It’s on Elizabeth at Prince (google it).

    Lastly, the best chicken sandwich in the civilized world (with spinach, sweet chili sauce and secret mayo) at the tiny Aussie joint, Ruby’s on Mulberry bwtn Spring and Prince.

    As for LONDON:

    Get a good fry up somewhere, but save your fish and chip eating (with mushy peas) at the ever-wonderful The Ivy, on West Street at Cambridge Circus. Start with the crispy duck salad, and end with the chocolate souffl?ɬ© (

    Also, I second the earlier comment about Wagamama.


  • L

    Foodfreak – Thanks! It looks like Wagamama is definitely on the list!

    Andrew – you bet. I’ll follow up in email.

    Becca – Thank you! Hope you have a great trip!

    Johanna – Bubby’s sounds great, and we’ll definitely need a brunch spot. I’m sure that Robuchon is amazing… although I think we’ll take it a bit easier while we are there (not to mention, we probably would have needed to get reservations a month ago!) We will be in the Notting Hill area, so I’ll definitely check out Electric Cinema!

    We went to Sketch for dinner last time we were there… what fun. The bathrooms are hysterical.

    Hamish – I read about Babycakes, and it looks very cool, and Thai chili chocolate gelato sounds so good my head might just explode. Wow. We had a great fish and chips at Rock and Sole Plaice when we visited last time and it was great… but the Ivy sounds fantastic.

    Thanks everyone for all the wonderful info! I think I’m going to have to extend my stays to fit it all in. :-)

  • Tiffany

    In London:
    Books for Cooks in Notting Hill – charming cookbook store that also serves lunch most days. Get there early – only 3 tables and no reservations.

    SOS in the East End – Smith’s of Smithfields. Great beef restaurant that has 3 restaurants in one building. They get more expensive as you climb more stairs. I ate at the bottom floor restaurant and was in heaven.

    Personally, I thhink Wagamama is overrated. But maybe I’ve never ordered the right thing.

  • Lisa (Homesick Texan)

    Well, it sounds like your plate is already full, but I highly recommend WD-50 and Blue Hill–either the one in NY or even better, their location at Stone Barns. And you should hit the Union Square Green Market which is open on Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat. Excellent photo ops. Russ & Daughters on Houston is a blast from the past (and also excellent for photos), and they have amazing caviar cream chese that’s perfect on a bagel for a quick snack. And then you’re in close proximity to the inexpensive dumpling zone for more peripatetic noshing.

  • Julie O’Hara

    I want to get in one more London recommendation. If you like Indian food, go have a curry on Brick Lane in East London. The whole area is fun and kind of hip when you get into the Spitalfields area which also has a great market. There are tens and tens of Indian restaurants here, so choose anyone. Many let you bring your own wine. Have a wonderful time! I also agree, Wagamama is fun.

  • Janay

    I recommend City Bakery (18th, btwn 5th & 6th) for amazing hot chocolate, with homemade marshmallows. They also have incredible pretzel croissants.

    If you have time, I’d also check out Kitchen Arts and Letters, a terrific cookbook shop way up at 93rd & Lex.

  • Tatiana a.k.a. Tatu

    Have fun and take lots of beautifull pictures for us!

    While in NY, make sure you have a snack at Rice to Riches (, they only sell rice puddings and the mascarpone one is amazing.

    Also, my husband highly recomends the lasagna at Via Emilia (

    Take care!